"Childhood is a short season." -Helen Hayes
These are just a few snippets of the beautiful year we have been having so far. Writing those words...'beautiful year'....cuts me and brings tears to my eyes, because I am living each day in such division since my mother passed last August. There is the sweet beauty of my outer world: of my bustling, pretty home, spilling over with Legos; the sing-song of my son's voice asking questions, laughing, singing, complaining, demanding, explaining the world through his eyes, telling me he loves me 'more than there are things;' the daily rhythms of coffee, toast, dog-walking, nature and bird-song, laundry, dishes, friends, groceries, play-dates, meals, bed-time with sleepy cuddles and books in the blue-yellow glow of a globe lamp. And then there is the visceral pain, the choking-on-tears sadness, the inner explosions of desperation at the realization that I cannot bring her back, I cannot change this, this is what I must live with now. Living each day in this divide is still strange, but it is becoming more familiar the longer I live it.
As Helen Hayes says, "Childhood is a short season," and this knowledge, which feels almost like a threat, like a bitter truth, keeps me as firmly planted in gratitude for the every-day as much as possible. This time is fleeting. This time of chlorine and ice cream, sunscreen, scraped knees, a stick-sword, swings and footballs, watching Tom and Jerry under a fluffy comforter while drinking cocoa through a straw, hair still wet from the blow-up pool in the yard; a belly round and sticking out unapologetically, sticky popsicle juice running down fingers, shouting and singing and jumping from high-up places; one moment Super Hero, the next moment curling up in Mama's lap and stroking her arm, needing me and still so small.
Rafael, Mama is so sad sometimes, Mama misses her own Mama, Mama feels lonely and abandoned. Who will love me and call me and check up on me; be concerned, care, and bare witness to the weavings and highlights and tragedies and victories of my life? This was all my Mother; she was difficult and wonderful. She annoyed me and delighted me. She read my blog religiously, she commented on my Facebook posts; she called and wrote and loved watching Rafael grow up. She was a cheerleader, my biggest fan. She saw so much good in me, and wanted to see me flourish and live to my fullest potential. This is all missing now.
But now I am that for you, Rafael. I am your Mama. I am your biggest fan. I annoy you and delight you, I am difficult and wonderful. I will cheer you on, I will remind you all the time how awesome you are. I will watch your life and destiny unfold, I will be here for you as long as I can. I will be concerned, I will care. I will see the good in you, and will help you flourish any way I can.
Childhood is a short season, and I will not let it slip by. I will celebrate each day with you, my boy. Yes I will be sad, I will miss and I will feel that cutting loss. But, my boy, I've got you, and you've got me. And that's more than I could ever ask for.